I had to do something a little crazy last week. I had to withdraw from school. I say crazy because it puts my whole future on hold. My undergraduate degree, my law degree, even my personal life is pushed back by my withdrawal. I say ‘had to’ because I didn’t really have a choice. My personal health was impeding my studies, and until I have that under control, there’s no point in stumbling through classes I would otherwise be enjoying. To quote some of my favorite artists, ‘I wanna thrive, not just survive.’ Even though I know I’ve made the right decision for myself and my future, not being in school has thrown me into a small personal crisis. I don’t have a purpose.
I’ve identified myself as a student for the last sixteen years of my life. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. Was. And even though my days will be filled with new activities–doctor’s appointments, evaluations, meetings with mentors–it feels wrong to identify myself as a patient. (And before anyone freaks out, I’m not dying, and I’m not laid up in a hospital somewhere.) I’ve spent so much time trying to iron out high minded, life-purpose oriented ideals that being yanked back down to the earth by a lack of daily purpose is…a bit disorienting.
Last week every homework assignment, pointless as it may have seemed, was like turning to a number on a combination lock. The one number means nothing, but combined with all the other seemingly pointless numbers and suddenly a door is open to me. A good GPA translates to good law school options. A law degree allows me to pursue activism. On some level, completing a note sheet about the nature of miracles in the synoptic gospels was taking a step towards my ultimate goal of changing the world. Now I’m just trying to change my sleeping pattern.
I’m realistic enough to realize that focusing on my health is more important to my long term goals than any amount of class work. But I can’t help but wonder why my personal philosophies give me the tools to describe my ideal life, but don’t offer so much as an inkling about what I should do when I wake up in the morning.